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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Should I include my pronouns on my resume?

8 min read
Should I include my pronouns on my resume?
The decision on whether or not to include your pronouns on your resume may not be as straightforward as one might think. Your gender pronouns might be central to your identity, but are they relevant when considering your professional capabilities?

Your gender pronouns might be central to your identity and having colleagues understand your correct pronouns might be crucial to feeling accepted in a workplace. Or perhaps you are cis-gendered and declare your pronouns as support for those who identify otherwise You’ve most likely landed on this blog because you want to find a job in a company where anyone’s identity is accepted and respected. 

So, when should you bring up your pronouns in the recruitment process? Should they be front and center on your resume? Could you introduce them at a later stage and put up with any unwitting misgendering during an interview?

Unconscious biases can cloud the recruitment process in so many ways. Gender identity is one of many arenas of discrimination. If it is important to you, the decision is simple: let people make their biased decisions early on. If the hiring manager doesn’t want to interview you because you put “they/them” in small letters under your name, then they are not someone you would wish to work for anyway. 

One might ask, however, is your gender identity truly relevant to whether you can do the job? As such, does gender have a functional place on a resume? On a document that should outline your skills and experiences, might personal pronouns serve as a distraction? Even if clarifying your gender pronouns is essential, need they be front and center so early in the recruitment process? 

 We explore some considerations in this blog:

  • The role of the resume
  • Unconscious bias and discrimination
  • Why might you include your pronouns?
  • Why would you omit your pronouns?
  • Where to include gender pronouns on your resume

The role of the resume

Before we consider whether there is a place for gender pronouns on a resume, we should be clear about the role of a resume in the recruitment process.

A resume is a document that hiring managers use during the interview process to start conversations about a candidate’s professional suitability for the role. They will assess an applicant’s skills and experiences and weigh them up against the demands of the position. 

Gender identity should not impact an employee’s ability to perform at work and it is therefore not required to be included on a resume.

That is not to say that it has no place on a resume should the candidate wish it to be there. A resume is also a “promise” to an employer about the employee that they are potentially about to hire. If your gender identity is important to you, then you should absolutely consider including it.

Such decisions should not be taken lightly. Unconscious bias dominates the hiring process.

Unconscious bias and discrimination

Unconscious bias and discrimination can significantly impact the recruitment process, often leading to unfair treatment and missed opportunities for talented candidates. These biases, which stem from ingrained stereotypes and preconceptions, may influence hiring decisions without the awareness of recruiters or hiring managers. 

For example, a recruiter might unconsciously favor candidates who share similar backgrounds or experiences, side-lining equally or more qualified individuals who differ in gender, ethnicity, age, or other characteristics. This not only undermines diversity and inclusion efforts but also limits the organization's potential to benefit from a wide range of perspectives and skills. 

To mitigate these effects, organizations are increasingly adopting structured interviews, anonymized resumes, and diversity training programs aimed at making the recruitment process more equitable and inclusive. Recognizing and addressing unconscious bias is crucial for fostering a diverse and dynamic workforce that truly reflects the broader society.

Gender identity is only one of these arenas for potential bias. While it has no bearing on how you perform in the workplace, it is increasingly an important part of our identity, so the question of when to introduce your gender identity during an interview process is an important one. Let’s explore both sides of the issue.

Why might you include your pronouns?

Being yourself at work is key to a productive and successful career. Including your pronouns on your resume is an ideal way of introducing an important part of your identity to a hiring manager with whom you will likely form a close professional bond. Letting them know your pronouns will get the relationship off to the right start and it will pave the way for a smooth start to the recruitment process.

Including pronouns on a resume also eliminates any awkward conversations from the start. You won’t need to interrupt the flow of the interview conversation to inform interviewers of how you wish to be referred to. If they care about your gender identity, they will take this into account and refer to you accordingly.

The recruiter’s response is also a great indicator of the company culture. If employees are used to respecting pronouns in the workplace, they will exhibit that behavior during an interview. Anything else hints at a potentially unsafe and discriminatory environment.

Why would you omit your pronouns?

Leaving your pronouns off your resume doesn’t mean that they are any less important to you. There is no expectation that gender pronouns should be included on a resume. 

Their absence is not significant for a hiring manager who has never met you before. They will judge you on your workplace merits. You can mention your pronouns in the interview if you feel comfortable doing so.

It may also be that some individuals involved in the hiring process may be particularly conservative or hold negative views on the issue of gender identity. There is nothing wrong with choosing not to share your pronouns on your resume or at all during the interview process. It is your choice. 

Where to include gender pronouns on your resume?

The most obvious place to include your pronouns is the space underneath your name in the header of the resume. Do not include the pronouns immediately after your name. If they’re on the same line, many ATS systems will assume that they are part of your surname. You don’t want to pop up in a database as “Lillian Andrews they/them.” Ensure that the font of your pronouns is considerably smaller, but not apologetically small.

Some people might include pronouns in a separate section at the end of the resume, but they may not be noticed. If an interviewer doesn’t notice them, they may be surprised if you take offense at them misgendering you. 

Other than your resume, there are other places to include your pronouns

As you progress through the hiring process, you will likely be exchanging emails with the HR representatives and hiring managers. Your email signature is therefore an effective place to share your pronouns. An attentive hiring manager will pick up on this immediately and hopefully start using them. It is a good sign if you do not have to mention it overtly and they adopt your preferred pronouns automatically.

If you don’t wish to put your pronouns on your resume, one alternative is to include them on your LinkedIn profile. Many people do this, and it may be a more appropriate place to share your gender identity. If you work in a professional role, it is likely that the hiring manager will check you out. 

Key takeaways

Ultimately, there is no “right answer” to this question.

While there may well be biases and discrimination involved in the recruitment process, they may well be the very things that you wish to avoid in a workplace. Rooting out these attitudes early in your job search may not be a bad thing.

On the other hand, if you feel that your gender identity is something that you would rather share at a later stage in the recruitment process, there is absolutely no requirement to state your pronouns on your resume. Make the decision that feels right for you. You are in charge.

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